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Light meals gain popularity in China

By Yang Yang | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2019-08-13 16:33
A woman has a light meal at a restaurant in Shenyang, capital of Liaoning province. [Photo by Zheng Kaifu/For China Daily]

Light meals with low calories, low fat and high fiber have become very popular in China as consumers become more health-conscious, Economic Daily reported on Tuesday.

The number of light meal orders on online food delivery platform Meituan exceeded 26.62 million in 2018, up 157.9 percent year-on-year and the consumption amount increased 159 percent on a yearly basis in the same period, a report said.

More online takeaway food stores have been established to meet the robust demand for healthy and high quality food, with the number of "light meal sellers" increasing 119.8 percent from 2017, according to a Light Meal Consumption Big Data Report released by Meituan.

This year, customers' searches for "light food", "fat reduction meal", "weight loss meal" and "healthy meal" increased 235.8 percent, 200.6 percent, 186.4 percent and 116 percent respectively.

The Chinese cities with the most light meal orders include Shanghai, South China's Guangzhou and Shenzhen, Beijing, East China's Hangzhou and Nanjing, Central China's Wuhan, Southwest China's Chengdu and Chongqing and South China's Foshan.

The cities with the most light meal sellers are Shanghai, Beijing, South China's Guangzhou and Shenzhen, East China's Hangzhou, Central China's Wuhan, East China's Nanjing, Southwest China's Chengdu, East China's Xiamen and Central China's Changsha.

Market data shows the light meal has become a healthy lifestyle choice for the public, forming a stable consumption market in not only long-established first-tier cities but also new first-tier cities and even fourth and fifth-tier cities in China.

Statistic shows 11 fourth-tier cities and 45 fifth-tier cities saw their first light meal orders in 2018 on Meituan, on which 59 Chinese cities overall began seeing the change in trends.

Females accounted for 70 percent of the light meal consumers, becoming the driving force for its consumption, and over 60 percent of them sought out meals to help them lose weight, the report said.

As light meal consumption becomes a new part of Chinese lifestyle, consumers should pay attention to maintaining balanced nutrition while controlling weight at the same time. Food producers should also establish a traceable system for food to guarantee food safety, as most light meal dishes are half-cooked, industrial experts said.

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